Monday, June 18, 2007

So, the biggest thing to happen to me in a few years has happened, and I haven't written about it? Have I gone mad? Am I completely nuts?

Yes.... I mean... NOoooo.

What an adventure!

So, the passports arrived after much, MUCH, much effort on my part. I e-mailed the passport agency. I called the passport agency. I e-mailed the kind lady at the Little Rock Library where we applied for passports. She sent me names of 2 Arkanasas State Representatives to harass. I called them. I called two CA state representatives...

On a side-note here - as much as I dislike Nancy Pelosi... the folks in her office are awfully nice!

After the two CA state representatives were on the case, I got up at 3am to start the phone lines in where ever they are in the Eastern Time Zone. I called at least 3 times a minute for 45 minutes (do the math) before actually reaching... no... not a person... a different message. But, after 15 minutes on that message, I spoke with a REAL, LIVE, ACTUAL passport agent. They DO exist!

A few numbers and details were exchanged and then Dick (that was his name) says this: "I have a note here that says that you have congressional help on these passports." To which I reply "Yessss....?" To which he blandly states "But, there isn't any note that says to expedite them, so we didn't." To which I reached my hand through the phone and grabbed his scrawny neck and raised my right hand and...

No wait... I didn't do that. I just sighed.

He continued... "Would you like them to be expedited?"

Can you just hear me screaming inside my own head?

I responded so softly you could barely hear me... "Yes, please."

And it was done!

13 weeks. 5 days on the road. 20 some e-mails, over 200 phone calls. Hundreds of dollars... and it was done.

Thanks, Dick.

The following morning, we met with some old friends for lunch. I wasn't holding my breath for those passports. So many promises. So few kept.

One of our friends works for the Fed Gov't. I remembered that because I was always afraid he'd deport me, but I never thought to ask him for help (because I was always afraid he'd deport me... did I mention that?). So... at lunch... he hadn't arrived yet, but our mutual friend, Nate had. Nate listened briefly to our passport troubles and then said "Ask Rog." "He's great with this stuff. He calls in a few favours on his cell and "boom", it's done!" Nate then tells us a few stories second hand about how Rog can find anyone, ANYWHERE in the U.S. Something to do with cellphone tracking and detective work. Creepy stuff.

As if on que, Rog walks in to the restaurant.

Rog is a big, black man. He wears shades ALWAYS. Day, night, inside, outside, rain or shine, he wears shades. I've never EVER seen his eyes. And we were close friends for years. When he sits, he folds his arms across his chest. When he stands, he folds his arms across his chest. He rarely chats in public. He looks like a bouncer, but he's actually the greeter at his church. Gotta love Rog.

After hearty hugs and a "how are ya?", Nate tells Rog about our passport problems.

Rog interrupts Nate and says "hold on." Rog pulls out his phone.

Nate looks at us, smiles and nods. "See?"

Rog calls someone... says "call my phone back and search it for this number", a few minutes later the phone rings. It's the passport agency. It's the Passport Agency CALLING HIM! I was stunned.

Rog asks for a few names and numbers and then flips his phone off.

"Your passport will be over-nighted via Fed-Ex. You can expect them by 10am tomorrow."

So, there you have it. Old friends, high places.

Then he turns to me and says - "So, you're Canadian? I didn't know that."

To which I reply "Yeah... that's why you can't find me on your little lists..."

We had a great lunch. Rog bought desserts all the way around. Kids made us proud and licked the plates.

I have more to tell you about returning to the motherland. Immigration. Old, new friends. But I'll save it for tomorrow. I think I'll take a minute and flip through some passports for old times' sake.



Chris said...

Wow, that's awesome!

Maree said...

Well written article.